I AM Strong
Staff Sgt. Crystal Basham (left), the BOSS representative at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., engages Soldiers on preventing sexual harassment and assault at the I.A.M. Strong booth.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 4, 2009) -- The 2009 Army Concert Tour, which includes artists Sugarland, Tim McGraw and Lynyrd Skynyrd, is sponsored by I.A.M. Strong, the Army's campaign to combat sexual harassment and sexual assaults by engaging all Soldiers to prevent inappropriate behavior before it occurs.

The initials have a dual purpose. They greet the eye with the message "I AM STRONG," and the letters stand for Intervene, Act, and Motivate. Soldiers are encouraged to intervene, act and be motivated to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assaults and keep their fellow Soldiers safe.

According to Pierre Laxa, the Family and MWR Command's Chief of Corporate Partnerships, Soldiers from the installation's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program will be manning the booth at each concert as the Army Concert Tour travels across the country.

"BOSS Soldiers are critical to the overall success of the I.A.M. Strong Campaign. They represent the key demographic (18- to 25-year-old Soldiers) most affected by sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Army," Laxa said.

Most incidences of sexual assault in Army communities take place in single Soldier barracks, so peer-to-peer intervention is important to the campaign. As influencers with their peers and a strong voice to represent their fellow Soldiers' needs, BOSS representatives lead single Soldiers engagements within their community and represent the essence of what it means to be a strong Soldier.

The BOSS Program will be a key conduit of information and a strong proponent of I.A.M. Strong at each garrison that has a BOSS Program. Aligned with the Warrior Ethos and Army Values, BOSS will urge all Soldiers to intervene, act and be motivated to stop their fellow Soldiers when they witness anyone engaging in any inappropriate behavior that may lead to sexual assault.

"I got involved November of last year because I want to do all I can to help my fellow Soldiers learn to cope with being away from home and the alcohol that can become available. This can all lead to sexual assaults," Staff Sgt. Crystal Basham said. Basham is the Aberdeen Proving Ground BOSS representative.

"The damage resulting from a sexual assault extends far beyond the victim. It weakens the health and morale of our Soldiers, breaks the bond of trust within the team, shatters the confidence Soldiers have in one another, and undermines unit readiness," she explained.

Upcoming concert tour stops include:

Aca,!Ac June 12, Fort Bliss, Texas
Aca,!Ac June 13, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Aca,!Ac July 3, Fort Sill, Okla.
Aca,!Ac July 18, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Aca,!Ac July 25, Fort Knox, Ky.
Aca,!Ac Aug. 8, Fort Benning Ga.
Aca,!Ac Aug. 15, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Aca,!Ac Aug. 28, Fort McCoy, Wis.
Aca,!Ac Sept. 4, Fort Riley, Kan.
Aca,!Ac Sept. 6, Fort Carson, Colo.
Aca,!Ac Sept. 19, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

For a complete list of concerts and artists, visit <a href="http://new.armymwr.com/recleisure/entertainment/concert_tour.aspx"target=_blank> http://new.armymwr.com/recleisure/entertainment/concert_tour.aspx</a>.

For more information about the I.A.M. Strong Campaign, visit <a href=" http://www.preventsexualassault.army.mil/" target=Aca,!A?_blank">http://www.preventsexualassault.army.mil/</a>

(Rob McIlvaine works for the Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Public Affairs Office.)

Page last updated Thu June 4th, 2009 at 09:18